The Aska Team Build series is one of Headway’s premium lines of authentic guitars. The four models are divided into two categories, the “traditional” 115 & 415 models and the “modern” 500 series, and their differences are compared part by part down below. If you are interested in the authentic Japanese Headway but don’t know which model to start with, please try these four models first and find the one that suits you best.

The 115 and 415 are the classic models from the Showa era (1977 – 83), featuring traditional looks and Headway’s signature clear, grainy sound. The new “Extra Slim V” neck grip dramatically improves the playability while maintaining the traditional Headway characteristics and authentic specs.

From left to right:HD-115 A,S-ESV/ATBHF-415 A,S-ESV/ATB

The 500 series was developed from the player’s perspective, with a sharp, modern look that produces a soft, expansive sound while maintaining the sturdy construction that is synonymous with Headway. The “Extra Slim U” neck is the thinnest neck in the history of Headway for high playability.

From left to right:HD-531 SF,S-ESU/ATBHF-531 SF,S-ESU/ATB

The “Extra Slim Neck” is the most advanced feature found in the four new Headway models. The neck is the thinnest in Headway’s history and is easy to grip, while the carbon rod reinforcements inside the neck maintain Headway’s traditional characteristics of robustness and stability. This is a neck grip that we are confident that even players with small hands will enjoy.

The top of the neck grip is a soft V shape with a slight point at the top. The sides are shaved to reduce the volume. It has a satin finish that feels smooth to the touch.

User’s Voice “It’s easy to grip and easy to play. It’s much easier to play than the Headway I already own.” – Male 50’s Read More

It has a rounded shape that fits the curve of your hand like the letter U. The semi-glossy finish of the neck, like a neck that has been used for a while, provides a good grip that allows the hand to absorb the neck.

User’s Voice “It’s easy to grip, and easy to play, especially for a fingerstyle solo guitar. ” – Male 20’sRead More

Bracing not only increases durability but is also a major factor in the sound quality of an acoustic guitar. Different types of bracing are applied to each model according to its concept.

The bracing cross position is set closer to the bridge side. It is characterized by a clear and bright sound with a strong core. Another advantage of this type of bracing is that it has a high reinforcing force, which reduces the risk of problems such as the bridge coming loose.

The bracing cross is set closer to the soundhole. The wider open space near the bridge allows the top plate to vibrate more easily, resulting in a fuller, softer sound with more emphasis on the low end.


A simple, traditional square headstock shape with a gothic logo that has been used since the company was founded.

The headstock top features an inlay of a hawk flapping it’s wings. The logo is also designed to match the round shape of the head.

Fingerboard Inlay

The standard snowflake inlay that has been used since the first Showa 115 and 415.

The size of the snowflake inlay changes depending on the size of the fret, making it even more gorgeous.


A traditional three-ring design with black and white stripes. It is a universal design that fits any style.

The herringbone pattern is accentuated by the addition of red lines, the theme color of the 500 series.


Tortoiseshell pickguard with a traditional teardrop shape.

Tortoiseshell pickguard in the original 500 series shape.


The known belly type ebony bridge. This is a traditional style with a large area.

Similar to the belly shape, but adjusted to a more modern shape by slightly narrowing the width and adding a curve.

Machine Heads

Roto-matic style machine heads, which cover the gears with a solid housing, are relatively heavier than the open-gear type and affect the sustain in the bass section.

We selected the lightweight open-gear type pegs from GOTOH’s flagship 510 series. The light weight allows for greater expressiveness in the upper register, which is balanced by the strong 34 bracing in the lower register.

While continuing the uncompromising Headway approach to guitar making that has been in place since the company’s inception, such as dovetailing the neck, great attention to detail, and using a one-piece neck, we continue to work on further improving the quality of our guitars by flexibly incorporating new materials and technologies.

One-piece Neck

The entire neck, from head to heel, is cut from a single piece of square wood. This allows the entire neck to vibrate more easily and reduces the chance of problems naturally arising. All of Headway’s necks are one-piece necks, cut from a square piece of mahogany, of which only two pieces can be produced. In this process, the middle of the block is basically rendered unusable. Although there are more efficient ways to cut the wood, Headway custom builder Momose uses a one-piece neck because he believes in making guitars that can be used for a long time with peace of mind. In terms of sound, the wood fibers are not interrupted, resulting in a highly efficient transmission of vibration.
▲Figure 1 Legend Top: Mahogany wood square Middle: Two necks cut out of mahogany Bottom: Loss of mahogany wood

Dovetail Joint

The neck and body are assembled with a dovetail joint. Since the joint area is structurally larger, the transmission of vibrations is improved, contributing to better sound and a thicker sound core. In addition, the Headway is processed very tightly so that there are no gaps at the joints, which further increases stability and prevents problems.

Post-coating neck joint

The neck and body are painted separately and then joined together after the painting process is complete. The reason for using this method is to ensure that each piece is joined at the correct angle. The thickness of the wood used for the body of an acoustic guitar is 2.5~3mm, and is greatly affected by external factors. During the production process, the body is inevitably subjected to changes in lift and dents, and if the guitar is jointed beforehand, it is very difficult to make final adjustments, which can lead to problems later on. In addition, it looks better when there are no paint puddles at the joint between the neck and body. Since it is impossible to hide the joint with paint, this method requires a high level of precision to ensure that there are no gaps between the body and neck.

High-Density Bone Nut & Saddle

All models in the ATB series use Water buffalo bone (High-Density Bone), which has a higher bone density than regular cattle bone. We set strict standards at the procurement stage and use only those with a specific gravity of 1.7 or higher. This is close to the specific gravity of ivory, which is now very difficult to obtain and is highly effective in terms of sound quality as well as appearance and texture.

HeadwayOriginal Frets

All ATB series models use the original “HHF” frets, which are custom-made by a fret maker. The material is nickel silver, but the hardness is increased by adjusting the ratio of the metal components, and the fret peaks are slightly higher (about 0.2mm) than the conventional frets to achieve a longer lifespan.

Batteries are always necessary when adding a preamp later on. In most cases, a Velcro-type battery box is attached to the neck block, but it is not uncommon for the tape to lose its strength and the battery to fall out. In the 500 series, the battery holder is fixed to the neck block with screws in advance, so you can use your guitar without worrying about this.

It is equipped with an endpin that is approximately 12.2mm in diameter, the same diameter as a typical endpin jack for an acoustic guitar pickup. This allows you to install the pickup’s endpin jack without any modification to the wood. However, depending on the pickup you are using, the diameter of the endpin jack may vary and may require modification. Please make sure to check the diameter before installation.

It uses “luminlay” dot positives, a light-storing material that glows in the dark. This is useful when playing on stage or in other places where the light level is dimmer and it becomes dark at times.





There are other models with extra slim necks in the ATB series

ASKA Team Build Product List